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The 120 Women Leadership Council participants have engaged in extensive dialogues across various regions of Israel.


“We had these very bad feelings; we were walking around with this pain in our stomachs,” she said.




In coincidental meetings with different women, Lavie began to realize the comradery of it all. The journey began with conversations, including with Tali Dvir Livnat, an activist creator, Rabbi Tamar Elad Appelbaum, Sarah Rosenfeld, and Or Piron Zomer.


The stance of women in Israel goes backward

“We came together with the hope and wish to give a name to our experiences,” Lavie said. “What has happened in Israel in the past year is that identity and ideology took precedence over our sisterhood, and that brought a very conflictive reality. But also in Israel, the status of women in the past three to four years has gone backward: look at the legislation, at the government, at the Knesset, and at the heads of committees. We are finding it very much not right and very uncomfortable.”



As the world marks International Women’s Day, former MK Aliza Lavie reflected on a common yet nameless experience she said many Israeli women have felt: knowing something is wrong but lacking the language to articulate it.


Here is the journey of how she went from that point to founding the 120 Women Leadership Council.



In coincidental meetings with different women, Lavie began to realize the comradery of it all. The journey began with conversations, including with Tali Dvir Livnat, an activist creator, Rabbi Tamar Elad Appelbaum, Sarah Rosenfeld, and Or Piron Zomer.



The stance of women in Israel goes backward

“We came together with the hope and wish to give a name to our experiences,” Lavie said. “What has happened in Israel in the past year is that identity and ideology took precedence over our sisterhood, and that brought a very conflictive reality. But also in Israel, the status of women in the past three to four years has gone backward: look at the legislation, at the government, at the Knesset, and at the heads of committees. We are finding it very much not right and very uncomfortable.”



This vision is rooted in the principles of collaboration and constructive dialogue, employing tools of female leadership, seeking to address pressing issues in Israel that contribute to societal divisions, volatile discourse, and animosity. The council, they said, aims to change attitudes toward problem-solving and amplify the voices and actions of women across different political and social spectra.


THEY POINT to the high number of women elected to local councils as a measure of their success as the forum helped support their campaigns.



“Everyone prefers to go home and be with people like them but you can’t fix the country by being with people like you,” said Lavie. “You need different people. We need to learn how to hear other voices.”


Challenges still persist within the forum, especially in fostering unity among diverse groups with differing opinions, such as about the military draft for the ultra-Orthodox.


“It’s not always easy; we don’t always agree,” Dvir Livnat said.



As the world marks International Women’s Day, former MK Aliza Lavie reflected on a common yet nameless experience she said many Israeli women have felt: knowing something is wrong but lacking the language to articulate it.


Here is the journey of how she went from that point to founding the 120 Women Leadership Council.



against women at Habima Square in Tel Aviv. (credit: MIRIAM ALSTER/FLASH90)

It took them two months to figure out what they wanted until the 120 Women Leadership Council was established last April on Rosh Hodesh Nisan under the auspices of First Lady Michal Herzog. Today, it numbers over 800 women from


Their official meetings have always taken place on Rosh Hodesh, the first day of Jewish months, which has special meaning for women in Jewish tradition when women have special powers, although not all members of the forum are aware of this tradition, she said.


“We asked ourselves, ‘Why did we reach this point?’ We can blame the religious and political leaders, but we women have also forgotten to work together. We know there is such a thing as female leadership; we know that it exists. Our forum says: Let’s work together.”


Women unite following October 7

With hostages still in Gaza, the crimes of Hamas against women, and also because of the steps backward for women’s rights, the International Day of Women this year is “very sad,” she said.


Dvir Livnat: “Women in Israel have been pushed backward. Legislation and governmental bodies fail to address our concerns adequately,” she said, adding that their forum strives for inclusivity and recognizes the power of diverse voices.


“We want to rekindle a genuine appreciation for diverse voices and discourse in Israel. Our goal is to move the conversation to a national conversation to make our voices heard. This is a serious wake-up call to all women, to all our sisters. This is on our watch.”


THIS PAST YEAR, they have been quietly introducing their initiatives, including workshops on conflict resolution, advocating for legislative changes to benefit women, and fostering connections across different communities.


They call for increased participation and support from individuals – including men – and organizations to further their mission of empowerment and inclusivity. They promise to be more publicly vocal in the coming year.


Already on October 8, the group’s efforts expanded to a control center providing support to widows and families affected by the Hamas terrorist attack and the war.


Women volunteers visited in pairs the families of people murdered on October 7 and of fallen soldiers – including a visit of an orthodox Jewish woman with a Muslim Arab woman to a Bedouin family who were mourning members killed by Hamas as well as worrying about other family members held hostage in Gaza.


“Even in the war, our connections are so sensitive,” Dvir Livnat said. “We had 400 volunteers writing letters to families in mourning – in Hebrew, Arabic, French; we sent volunteers out to family visits. The government wasn’t there – there were so many funerals and shivas [week-long mourning periods] – but in that space, we were there, making connections with hundreds of families.


“We understood we needed to be where everything was falling apart, with the mourning and the loss. We know how to navigate these situations, what we need, and how to work.”


The 120 Women Leadership Council participants have engaged in extensive dialogues across various regions of Israel. They have met with representatives from different denominations and sectors with the objective of understanding and addressing the unique needs of each society, and learning from effective female leadership practices.


The council is actively involved in drafting position papers, organizing seminars and workshops, and developing professional programs focused on conflict resolution and communal justice, through which they hope to foster a culture of inclusivity and empowerment.


The charter will be presented to Michal Herzog on April 4, and the forum hopes to encourage politicians, leaders, heads of organizations, and institutions to endorse and implement it.



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